Sith Fire30 Interview
How did you get started customizing action figures?
I started back in 1993 or 94...whenever the first reboot of the Star Wars Power of the Force figures came out. I purchased the entire line at a target while on my way back to school. I remember I wanted to create my own squad of Shadow Trooper so my first customs were simple repaints of the POTF Stormies - flat black with some gloss for the armor. At the time I thought they rocked LOL! After that was simple repainting - I enjoyed it. Over time I discovered new materials, different techniques and today I am making my own figures from the ground up...alomst anyway LOL! Getting there!
Where would you say your artistic abilities came from?
My dad for sure. He has a knack for creativity. I love you mom, but you can't draw a stick figure right! LOL!
For those who have never seen your work before, how would you describe what sets you apart from other customizers out there?
I sculpt almost all my work these days - I am getting to a point with this hobby where I want my work to be complete sculpts. I have a habit not to limit the character I work on to just one accessory or one likeness...for example the Darth Malgus sculpt I made in 2011 - 9 different head sculpts??? I love detail and give as much as I can to the subject I work on. I get that inspiration for Asian toy companies like Hot Toys or Bandai.
Occasionally we might see a customizer do an alternate head sculpt or maybe a few variations of a character, but you do multiple facial sculpts and recasts for one version of a character and have been known to do an entire series of just one character. Does it ever feel tedious to you?
I think I like to punish myself! LOL! Seriously - sometimes I get so into a character that I'm not satisfied with just one version and that's it. The character may have several key moments that define them and that's where I get sucked in. Is it tedious - yes. I sometimes feel like I will never finish a project because I keep adding more and more to it. For example - Ash (from ALIEN)...My favorite evil robot in Sci Fi. Ian Holm did such an excellent job playing that role. Sculpting the basic figure wasn't enough - had to take it up a notch and include several variants. Still working on one more but when it's complete will be the "end all be all" of Ash figures...and in my mind the character deserves nothing less.
What customizing technique do you wish your were better at?
LIGHTING! I want to learn to light my scratch build work so bad! PLEASE HELP ME!!! LOL!
Which custom(s) of yours do you feel best captures the full extent of your skills?
Oh boy - I think for the time being it would be my Savage Opress figure from The Clone Wars. I was able to create a unique articulated body frame, a full body sculpt, a unique head sculpt, a battel damaged head sculpt, removable magnet armor, swich out arms from bare to armored, alternate battle damaged armor, sculpted weapons and a scratch built lightsaber hilt. He's a MONSTER! And NEWS FLASH - Not finished with him! Plan on sculpting a robot arm (as seen in recent episodes) and Savage before to conversion!
Which customizers do you enjoy seeing new work from the most?
I don't have just one customizer that I look forward to seeing new work - I have lots! The talent has BLOWN UP over the past several years - It's great to be involved in this hobby right now - some exciting art is being created.
What tips can you offer to those trying to incorporate as much detail into their sculpting as you achieve on your customs?
Patience padawan. Seriously - patience is the key and learning your material and what it can do. I learn something new everyday. I jump on boards and ask questions when I see a technique that interests me. Tools are important as well - Find what your comfortable with or customize your own to achieve the detail your looking for.
What one production vehicle and one figure would you want cryo-frozen with you as you travel to a far off planet?
Store bought figure and vehicle? That would be the USS FLAGG from vintage GIJOE ( MIB of course) and the Takara Masterpiece Grimlock!
When the eye sight goes, the arthritis kicks in, and you have to box up the brushes and the dremel, what legacy do you hope to leave behind?
Not sure - I hope never to loose the skill totally. If so than it would be inspiring others to be creative. I may never make these figures for a toy company (would like to) but at least I could say I got others to get into the hobby - adults and kids alike. I 'll be sure that my creations will be secretly buried somewhere on earth to be dug up centuries later.